Sen. Chuck Schumer railed against companies claiming to sell the benefits of sunscreen in a pill form, arguing the method is not effective against sun damage and should be taken off the shelves.
Schumer said several companies sell such pills, falsely promising protection against UVA and UVB rays. In May, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb warned that claims from companies like Sunsafe Rx and Sunergetic are “misleading consumers, and putting people at risk.”
Sunsafe Rx says its ingredients “can promote your skin’s natural defenses against UV rays” while, according to the FDA, Sunergetic uses testimonials like “it’s basically an oral sunscreen” to sell its products.
“Sunscreen pills are a fraud,” Schumer said, adding he is pushing the FDA to take the pills off the market. “They are a danger: a quiet danger, a silent danger, but a danger nonetheless.”
Representatives for Sunergetic did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
On Sunday, Sunsafe Rx posted on Instagram that their product can “provide your skin with additional defenses against sun damage.”
A representative for Sunsafe Rx said in an email that the product contains ingredients that protect skin from sun damage, and added that the product isn’t marketed as a sunscreen and the company does not tell consumers that they don’t need other, topical sun protection.
Schumer said consumers shouldn’t be “deluded that these pills can make you safe from the sun.”
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In New York, more than 4,000 cases of melanomas of the skin were reported in 2015, according to the agency.
More than 400 people die from melanoma in New York each year, according to a 2014 Environmental Protection Agency report.